Cold Chain – Keeping Beer Fresh Since Ages Ago!

July 20th, 2017 Posted by BetterBrewingBetterBeer, Uncategorized 6 comments

Ed Jefferies – Epic Production Manager

There’s been a bit of chatter recently about the quality of beer. I had a chat with our Production Manager, Ed Jefferies, about the systems we have in place to make sure our beer is the best quality by the time it gets to our customers and consumers. It turns out that how we handle the beer from the point of brewing to getting to the glass is pretty bloody important. The buzz word that’s going around is ‘Cold Chain’; Ed gave me the lowdown.

Our beers ready for dispatch in chilled storage

What is Cold Chain?
Cold chain is when you keep your beers chilled for as long as you possibly can in the supply chain; Ideally from the brewery right to the pint in your hand.

What’s our process?
For kegs, when kegs are produced they go directly to cold storage. They then get delivered directly to the customer where they go straight into cold storage. For exports, our beers are sent in cold storage shipping containers and sent to a chilled storage facility before distribution to our customers. For distribution throughout New Zealand, the only time that kegs are out of cold storage is in transit. This ensures that our beer is as fresh as possible by the time it gets to our customers and the final beer drinker.

What happens if the beer is not chilled?
If beer is not chilled, it ages a lot faster which reduces the freshness of the beer. They say that chilling your beer, it stays fresher for three times longer. This applies more for hop forward beers like IPAs, as hop flavours do drop off as the beer ages. With stouts and darker beers, a bit of age can sometimes be a good thing. For example, The Observer, now with a bit of age has mellowed them out and rounded it’s flavour – Imperium is at its peak right now.

What’s your biggest worry?
When it comes to bottled beer, it’s a bit of a different story. After leaving the brewery, our beer does go straight to cold storage. Once we have sold them to our customers, we have no control over where it’s stored. It could be sitting in an ambient warehouse over summer for a month essentially cooking. That’s obviously beyond our control, so that’s why all of our products are kept chilled when it’s in our control. We try to brew the very best beer that we can, and also take care of it the best that we can. We’re committed to making sure our quality is the best it can be. At the end of the day, our consumers want to have a good beer experience and we want to do everything that we can to ensure this.


Greig says:

Citizens demand more Ed! 🙂

John says:

Have the supermarkets been informed i have seen all craft beers on a set of shelves outside fridge

Chris Hannent says:

As long as it’s product that sells quickly – no probs!

Harvey Kane says:

But how does the consumer know if it’s a quick selling product or a stale beer that has been on a warm shelf for 6 months?
I won’t buy IPAs in bottles anymore. Been there done that. If the supermarkets / bottle stores want craft beer prices they need to up their game and treat their IPAs and hefes as perishable items. Because they are perishable items.
Cold storage all the way and discount them at the first hint that they are getting old.

Chris Hannent says:

Good question, Harvey. We do put dates on all our beers.

Peter Krafft says:

If beer is packaged properly with low dissolved oxygen then aging should not be a problem if it sells through quickly. I would be more concerned about light strike as so many outlets display craft beers on the shelf under fluorescent light.

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